The quintessentially 1990s romantic comedy, Sleepless in Seattle, will bid bow out of the Netflix library in August.
With the legendary duo of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, this beloved film has held a special place in the hearts of audiences since its 1993 release and continues to be a nostalgic favourite even after three decades.
During filming, Hanks inadvertently turned into a coffee aficionado. And Sleepless in Seattle bolstered his and Ryan’s status as America’s sweethearts. Even though Nora Ephron wanted to make the film “timeless”, it remains a product of its time.
When it comes to problematic gender stereotypes, Sleepless in Seattle has not aged well, but it is still one of Ephron’s era-defining hits. It may be slightly less significant than You’ve Got Mail, but even that one has its issues, no matter how cutesy Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox were together. Both films were, at the end of the day, examining then-modern-day relationships in the world of burgeoning social tech. While the fated love story in Sleepless in Seattle got rolling because of a radio show, You’ve Got Mail had two strangers fall in love long before they meet, writing letters to each other; only the letters were emails.
Recently Hanks spoke about how the films examined human behaviour in this context on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, “The conceit behind both films have a lot to do with mass media. This personal contact comes by way of mass media. That we now all feel because there is that ongoing difference between having fifty thousand followers on your Instagram account, which can make some people feel fantastic, and other people have fifteen million followers as well. When we did [You’ve Got Mail], I read it instantly, and I said, ‘Oh, let’s do this. I think it’s great.’ And Nora said, ‘Yes, I think it’s great too. We have to hurry up and get the movie before something surpasses email,’ on You’ve Got Mail. And she was absolutely right.”
Hanks continued to speak on how fast technology was becoming obsolete during the digital boom of that era, “The idea of having to log on to AOL now is quaint…Well, it comes down to, it’s all an examination of human behaviour, the need to connect. And the realities that people project upon people they just heard once on the radio or got an email from.”
If all this talk about Sleepless in Seattle being ‘era defining’ and whatnot has got you curious to visit (or revisit) this 90s hit, then read on to know more about the film.
What is Sleepless in Seattle about?
Under the starry skies and twinkling lights of 1990s Seattle, Sleepless in Seattle tells a tale of fate, love, and second chances as old as time. Hanks portrayed Sam Baldwin, a widower struggling to cope with the loss of his wife. Meanwhile, Ryan plays Annie Reed, a successful journalist living in Baltimore, who finds herself engaged but unsatisfied with her current relationship.
One night, fate intervenes when Sam’s young son Jonah calls into a late-night radio show to find a new partner for his father. The heartfelt plea touches millions of listeners across the country, including Annie. Intrigued by the sincerity in Jonah’s voice, Annie becomes obsessed with the idea of meeting Sam. Despite living on opposite sides of the country, the stars align as destiny draws them closer together.
Their journey is filled with laughter, heartache, and unexpected encounters, leading to an unforgettable finale atop the Empire State Building.
The movie capitalised on the genuine chemistry between Hanks and Ryan. This was their second film together after the 1990 film Joe Versus the Volcano. Their on-screen connection was electric and largely responsible for turning Sleepless in Seattle into an enduring classic.
Sleepless in Seattle leaves Netflix on August 31st, 2023.